Monday, September 29, 2008

First Day of Puppy Class

Today was Winnie's first puppy class. Ten dogs in the class, most were bigger than Winnie. Only two were smaller, a 10 week old American Pit Bull and a Pomeranian fluff ball smaller than most of the squeaky toys in our house.

I didn't quite know what to expect from Winnie when it came time to play freely with the others. I know I was more nervous than she was though. She was her usual self - sitting, watching most of the time. She wandered into the mix, though, and wasn't fearful at all. She didn't play like she does with Gromit, but actually none of the dogs really went nuts, it seemed more of a sniffing out period for everyone. Maybe next week hell will break loose, but it didn't tonight.

We went over Sit and Down, and she did GREAT! I was using pieces of a hot dog as her food reward and she responded well to it. We had never tried Down before this class, and she picked it up with no problem. A little practice and I think she'll have it down.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Today was our small town's Oktoberfest. I thought it was a great opportunity to do some puppy socializing! So we headed into town and right away ran into a friend with her awesome gentle giant, Gus. Winnie reacted not at all to the St. Bernard, and it was all I could do to keep from sending "oh my God" vibes down the leash! But Gus wouldn't hurt a fly and Winnie liked him and was totally comfortable.

Speaking of comfortable, we encountered crowds, kids on bikes, scooters and strollers. We encountered balloons popping very nearby. We encountered live music. And Winnie, as is her way, took absolutely everything in stride. She wasn't skiddish or fearful or anything. She stood still through so many tellings of the 'It's a Wirehaired Vizsla' thing that by the end of the day she could have said it herself. Hell, she even sat through polka. That should count as points toward some sort of title, shouldn't it?

But it was an active day so she got tired and found a comfortable spot on a chair while Mommy and Daddy had an adult beverage or three.

Well [Scene Missing] next thing you know, and it seems to happen at every Oktoberfest, Daddy's playing air guitar on Gromit.

He doesn't enjoy air guitar as much as I do, but he accepted my apology for using him as a prop to get a laugh.

Meanwhile, Winnie had one too many and had turned into a puddle.

Then she remembered she was from Illinois and threw a few more back.

It was just a great day. She was hugely popular and got dozens and dozens of compliments. I was one proud Daddy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Almost ten weeks

I can't resist pictures of dogs with their tongues sticking out. I like this one because it doesn't make her look dorky at all. I mean, not even a little bit.

I'm still spending about $30 a week on dog toys (wait till you see Pheasant Toy!), one day it will sink in that her favorite toy is a stick.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I think I got thtung on the lipth by a wathp or thomething.

Poor Gromit learned a sharp lesson about eating bees tonight. Far be it from me to laugh at someone else's misfortune. But, I don't care who you are, that's funny.

Monday, September 22, 2008


My Ride's Here

Earlier I wrote about the origin of Winnie's kennel name, Seraphim's Paint the Room Yellow. Well as I got to the paperwork, I realized the UKC does not allow enough characters to accommodate that name. So I reverted back to the original name I had for her.

When I first heard the kennel name, Seraphim (a Seraphim is a six-winged angel), I was instantly reminded of a great Warren Zevon song, My Ride's Here:

The Houston sky was changeless
We galloped through bluebonnets
I was wrestling with an angel
You were working on a sonnet
You said, "I believe the seraphim
Will gather up my pinto
And carry us away, Jim
Across the San Jacinto
My ride's here..."

So Winnie's new, final and official UKC kennel name is Seraphim My Ride's Here.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

NewsFlash: Cranky Bastard Warms Up to Sleepy Puppy!

I'm not saying she's Scooter's favorite thing in the world, but this scene was unimaginable just three days earlier! I am encouraged by his increasing tolerance to her, he's being a good boy.

And, here's a bonus picture that doesn't have anything to do with anything, I just liked it...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hey does this count?

I have to be honest, I think she was just walking toward duck toy and a lucky shutter click made it look like she was pointing. But it's a fun picture anyway...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Harper's Ferry

Today we took the first of many trips to the Shenandoah River, and walked the path down to the historic town of Harper's Ferry. I kept her out of the water, didn't feel like rushing that after all she's had to process already this week. But she walks very well on the leash.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Home at last

After months of planning and waiting, and days of horrendous traveling, we finally got Winnie back home. Here she is in her new back yard!

The thing I was most nervous about was the introductions to Gromit and Scooter. Well, not so much Gromit. He's a year and a half and I figured they would love eachother. They seem to do just that. Winnie let him know at some point she had had enough playing and he respected that, so the dogspeak thing is playing out more or less the way it's supposed to.

Scooter, who turned 13 this weekend, is a little less enthusiastic about his new roommate. He has had a couple of discussions with Winnie already, but nothing serious. I think that will all work out fine, as she learns from him what he won't tolerate, and he learns from her that she will back off with a growl. Hey, we're only in Day One, and I have to say as first days go, it's gone really well. I will monitor the two of them very closely until she gets a little older and bigger, and just see how they get used to eachother and interact.

But I sure am glad to have her home. I have this week off, and have a few adventures planned, so stay tuned for more pictures!

Happiest Trip from Hell Ever

Rain. Heavy rain. Rain in sheets. Sideways rain. Big drops, little drops. Standing water, and lots of it. Truck spray. That's what we dealt with for the entire weekend as we headed to Illinois to pick up Winnie. Friday we got as far as Elkhart, Indiana, about 500 miles of torrential rain. After a stressful trip like that, we were very happy to find a place called the Chubby Trout, which served us enough food and Great Lakes Oktoberfest until we felt like we could get some sleep and start it all again the next day.

The next day was a shorter trip, so the skies decided to pour even more rain on us so we could get the maximum amount of rain per mile. It was absolutely brutal. This was, as it turns out, actually Hurricane Ike. As storms go, if you can rain that hard in Houston and Chicago at the same time, that's impressive.

But Winnie was at the end of our trip, so we took it all in stride. And we eventually reached Peg and Jim's house. The fun company and warm hospitality alone would have been worth the drive, but meeting Winnie and the rest of the dogs made for a day I'll never forget. This is our first meeting...

We had an awesome day with Peg and Jim and the dogs. Couldn't have been better, in fact. I enjoyed meeting and spending some time with two really great dogs, too - Carly (Winnie's Mom) and Miles (Carly's dad). Miles is one special dog.

So the next morning we hit the road east, and the rain continued. Passing Chicago, traffic stopped. For a long time. We found out that the highway was closed due to flooding, and all escape routes seemed to be blocked with traffic. We finally got out of the area, but a two hour delay there limited how much farther we could travel in one day. Winnie, meanwhile, was an angel. Traveled like a champ. Asked to go out a few times but other than that the car seemed to put her to sleep. Of course when we did stop for potty breaks, she wanted nothing to do with the rain. Sandy, from the warm, dry cockpit of the FJ Cruiser, was nice enough to help out by taking these pictures.

So, the rain continued and we limped into the Cleveland area out of gas and energy, only to find that our hotel's electricity was out. Deal killer. So we continued on and found not one but TWO additional pet-friendly hotels without electricity. We ended up going all the way to where we had originally planned to stay, rolled in at about 11 and crashed.

Winnie slept from 11 to 1, I let her out at 1 and then I had to wake her up at 6. Not a bad first night! And Monday morning greeted us with this really weird yellow/white light in the sky. I looked it up when we got home and it is called "sunshine." The rest of the trip was a breeze compared to the previous day.

So, 1,672 miles later, home - and two Jack Russells - were a welcome, albeit nervous sight for sore eyes...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's in a Name?

The first puppy out of this litter that I had my eye on was the female wearing the yellow ribbon. (Peg called her Sunshine.) She was the first individual dog I saw when they went from being a litter to nine individual pups. As I watched them get bigger, and Peg kept me updated with pictures and video, I tried not to get too attached because there was still much to be decided. After all, I was fourth in line for a female and there were six females in the litter. Those who picked before me were looking for dogs to show and breed, I wanted a sweet dog who might be able to hunt a little, and a dog who could hold her own in a household that includes two Jack Russells.

So as they developed and the dogs started getting matched up with those who would be their new families, I told Peg that while I'd be happy with any of them, I found myself leaning toward Sunshine. Then the first two females were picked and there was just one more pick before me. I told Peg that if that person chose Sunshine, the yellow ribbon dog, not to feel bad. I liked them all and, besides, it wasn't like I had already painted the baby's room yellow or anything!

She wrote back what inspired Winnie's official kennel name. Peg said, "Go ahead and paint the room yellow. Sunshine is yours no matter what."

So with appreciation for Seraphim Kennels and all that Peg has done these past few months, Winnie's official UKC name will be Seraphim's Paint the Room Yellow.

We leave tomorrow morning on our 1,600-mile round trip to bring Winnie back to Virginia. Stay tuned for pictures, video, and stories about the trip!

Monday, September 8, 2008

She's Almost Here!

As Winnie's arrival approaches, I have already bombarded the email inboxes of all my friends with countless images provided by her breeder, Peg. So I decided to start this blog, a place where I can post recent pictures of Winnie, as well as share my training experiences, challenges and adventures.